meeting people IRL who have been reading my blog . . .
meeting people IRL who we have both been blogging and reading each other . . .
IRL people who read my blog but don't blog themselves . . .
I've decided to let the CoB continue a little while longer and see how she does. I enjoy the CoB so much, but I also do not want to keep something going just because it is there. Yet, at the same time, I don't want to stop something just because there are only a few participants at times.
I did something a little different with the topics . . . I like the challenge of finding beauty in the everyday topics, but as I've been praying about the CoB this week, I think this two-month theme for October and November is the way to go for right now.
So, are there any volunteers for hosting the following topics?
Oct 5: The Beauty of Love (I will host this week)
Oct 12: The Beauty of Joy
Oct 19: The Beauty of Peace
Oct 26: The Beauty of Patience
Nov 2: The Beauty of Kindness
Nov 9: The Beauty of Goodness
Nov 16: The Beauty of Faithfulness
Nov 23: The Beauty of Gentleness
Nov 30: The Beauty of Self-Control
Dec 7: The Beauty of Praise
Dec 14: The Beauty of Tradition
Dec 21: CoB Takes a break
Dec 28: The Beauty of This Year
I personally invite you to join us as we reflect on the beauty of Christ in the world around us. For more info on how to participate as either a blogger or hostess, click here.
I will be out of town this weekend, and then have an out-of-country guest for the first part of next week. So, expect a reply late next week in regards to the hosting requests. Thanks for understanding!! Requests can be made here in the comments or by email [firstname.lastname@example.org].
If you'd like to be reminded of CoB news in your email inbox, please join our google group:
Subscribe to Carnival of Beauty
Visit this group
(Oh, and if you are not getting any messages from the group . . . check your spam. Gmail was sending my google group mail to the spam folder!! I finally caught it, marked it "not spam" and everything has been fine since.)
The only thing I am doing for Teacher's Day is going out with a colleague for lunch to eat Korean food. And, really, that is just because we want to . . . doesn't really have anything to do with the holiday.
But, I wanted to make sure I wished all the teachers out there . . . Happy Teacher's Day!!
Here is a repost of what I wrote last year, explaining Teacher's Day:
Today is Teacher's Day in Taiwan. And, like so many holidays in so
many cultures, Teacher's Day in Taiwan is a mix of both the religious
To many Taiwanese, Teacher's Day is a day to show respect to their
teachers and to thank them for all their hard work (I like that).
Nonetheless, as Wikipedia correctly points out, "This date was chosen to commemorate the birth of Confucius,
believed to be the model master educator in ancient China." At the
crack of dawn in Confucian temples all over the island cermonies take
place in honor of Confucius. These 祭孔大典 (or "Grand Ceremonies
Dedicated to Confucius") start with the beating of drums. "54 musicians
dress in robes with blue belts, 36 (or 64) dancers
dress in yellow with green belts. They are led and followed by
cermonial officers. Three animals--the cow, the goat, and the pig--are
sacrificed. The hair plucked from these sacrificed animals are
called the Hairs of Wisdom."
So, now you know some students simply give their teachers cards
which say "Happy Teacher's Day," but others go to temples and make
sacrifices to a dead man.
Whatever my God ordains is right
In His love I am abiding
I will be still in all He does
And follow where He is guiding
He is my God, though dark my road
He holds me that I shall not fall
And so to Him I leave it all
Whatever my God ordains is right
He never will deceive me
He leads me by the proper path
I know He will not leave me
I take content, what He has sent
His hand can turn my griefs away
And patiently I wait His day
This beautiful seventeenth-century hymn is on Sovereign Grace's latest CD: In a Little While, a father and son project. I love the gentle melody and simple but powerful truth of this song! Plus it matches my path theme. ;)
I've listened to it over and over. What a great addition to my "Trusting God Playlist" (which started after reading about Carolyn McCulley's list)!
To give credit where credit is due: the original was written in German by Samuel Rodigast in 1676. Catherine Winkworth translated it to English in 1863. Then, Mark Altrogge updated the English for the CD and wrote new music for the song.
I am from storybooks and
Cabbage Patch dolls,
from a box of 124 crayons.
I am from cinnamon rolls, banana bread,
and gravy poured over broken biscuits.
From yellow and green gingham,
the CareBears, and pink and blue bows.
I am from the new, new house
in a little bit of Forth Worth.
From the parsonage next to
the small-town church
with the two story slide.
I am from mud pies,
picnics in the front yard,
porch swings and rocking chairs.
I am from “life is not fair”
and “I told you so.”
From washing windows on Saturday
and it’s your turn to empty the dishwasher.
I am from preachers,
Sunday school teachers,
and the church pianist.
I’m from Jesus Loves the Little Children,
and Great is Thy Faithfulness.
I’m from pajama days
and a little black pick-up truck.
From chicken and dumplings,
chips and salsa, peppermint birthday cakes,
and don't forget the Diet Coke and Bluebell.
I'm from Podunk, Arkansas
and Smalltown, Texas.
From huge family get-togethers, days on the lake,
and Christmas at Grandma’s.
I am from the woman who tossed cold water on her rowdy boys,
the high school sweethearts who married,
the boy who was tricked to run down a steep hill,
the strangers who met on a bus.
I am from the boy who jumped off a bridge and broke his nose,
from the girl in the fluffy pink sweater who hated her curls.
I am from Dot and Joe, Mildred and Euel, Joi and Ken,
from love and laughter, faith and family,
hugs and kisses.
Giving credit where credit is due: Poems like this have been circling the web for awhile now--I first remember seeing them in the winter/spring of 2005. They are inspired by George Ella Lyons' poem "Where I'm From." And, there is even a template to help you get started if you'd like to write your own.
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or 中秋節 in Chinese, is the second largest holiday in Taiwan. It is a harvest celebration and occurs when the moon is her biggest. So, this year that is today, September 25th.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a national holiday in Taiwan. So, that is why we had the four-day weekend. However, Monday's work and classes will have to be made up this Saturday since Monday was not a national holiday.
To celebrate the Moon Festival, people share and eat mooncakes, BBQ with friends and family, and eat pomelos.
Mooncakes are traditionally round Chinese pastries about the size of a biscuit. (But, they taste nothing like a biscuit!) The outside is either flaky or soft, and then the middle is filled with . . .well, a filling. Fillings can range from a salted egg yoke to red bean to taro to green tea.
Another relatively new part of the Moon Festival celebration is to BBQ with friends and family. BBQ here is quite different than in the States. Namely--it is done on a much smaller grill and everyone is involved the whole time. Another major difference would be the food items on the grill. :) (Can you tell what's on the foil in the first pic below?)
Pomelos--a grapefruit-like fruit--are also part of Mid-Autumn Festival. Of course, you eat them, but you can also wear them on your head like a hat!
Happy Moon Festival!!
Gilby, my sweet, little puppy-boy, came to live with me two years ago on September 23, 2005.
So in honor of his adoption day, here are 14 random facts about Gilby:
1. He was a teeny-tiny thing when I got him. He could literally fit in the palm of my hand.
2. He went nameless for four days.
3. His name was chosen by an internet poll. Other names in the poll included: Kody, Timmy, Theo, Quincy, Bailey, Howie, Frankie, Jake, and Buddy.
4. I have 3 sets and at least 515 pictures of gilby on flickr.
6. He really enjoys playing fetch, and he will initiate the game himself.
7. He also knows how to lie down, stand up and walk (on hind legs), give five, "ask for it," "drop it," and go into his crate on command.
9. I sometimes call him Mr. Gibs.
10. My Taiwanese friends who don't speak English call him "Q 比" (which is pronounced Q-B").
11. He loves fruit--especially apple, mango and pineapple.
12. He loves to meet new friends and hates to see them go. Friendliness to strangers is one reason why I choose the Maltese breed. But, his friendliness scares some of my students who are not used to being around dogs.
13. My mom has sent her grandpup doggie treats all the way from the US.
14. He sometimes wears clothes--mostly in the winter when he is cold (we don't have heat here)--and he loves it!
I can't believe I've had Gilby for two full years. My how time flies!!
I love you Mr. Gibs!! Thanks for being my sweet puppy-boy!
Proverbs31 from Bringing Good Home has tagged me in a meme and since this is a four-day weekend for us here in Taiwan, I have time to actually do it. :)
Even though it is a rather simple meme--list 8 random things about your kitchen and/or cooking--I still couldn't follow directions. I listed 11.
2. I am very (VERY) excited about my new kitchen. It actually has some counter space. My former kitchen's counter space was only large enough to hold a small dish drying rack.
3. My dishes are black. All my glasses and most of my cooking utensils
are red. I covered my previous kitchen cabinets with black contact
paper and painted my fridge black too. My red and black scheme don't quite work in my new white and blue kitchen.
4. I don't have a dishwasher. And, I hate washing dishes. Not a good combo. I do, however, have a dish dryer--a built-in, over the sink, dish drying tray that will blow/heat my dishes dry.
5. I love my Chinese knives. Chop! Chop! Chop! They are wonderful.
6. I am swapping cooking lessons with my neighbor/friend. She teaches me
to make Chinese food, and I am teaching her some American dishes. This weekend, I was teaching her how to make french toast and fry bacon. I told her I
would also show her how to make grilled cheese sandwiches, mashed
potatoes, and omelets. Her response: "Oh! Goody! I just love knowing
how to cook exotic foods!" Who knew that mashed potatoes and grilled
cheese sandwiches were exotic! :)
7.The burners on my two-burner stove are shaped to hold a wok. So, when I do use a skillet, it has a hard time staying balanced on the burner.
8. The flame that comes out of my gas stove is HUGE. I love it.
9. My oven sits on top of my fridge. Ovens are not common here, so my little oven which holds one pan at a time is a luxury item. I once baked 156 mini-cupcakes 12 at a time in my beloved little oven.
10. I can cook with chopsticks (which is totally not impressive if you live in Asia).
11. Another main difference between American kitchens and Taiwanese
kitchens is the height of the counters. They are much (MUCH) lower
here (it makes sense that shorter people need lower counters). I find
myself leaning over a lot in the kitchen--especially when washing
dishes. So, if I have quite a few things to wash, I bring in a stool
and sit down to wash them.
I am not tagging anyone specifically, but I'd love to hear about other people's "international kitchens"--either Americans living abroad or non-American kitchens. But those with American kitchens in America are still welcome too. :)
If you do play along, leave your link, and I'll add it to this post.
As a result, for much of my adult life, I've lived in frustration and with guilt and failure as my constant companions.
Two things helped lift me out of my depression. First, simply, God was gracious. He restored to me the joy of my salvation. Second, about a year after coming back alive, I read The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges; it is changing my life.
Bridges introduced me to the concept of "dependent discipline." Like an airplane needs two wings to fly, we need to be both responsible and dependent as we pursue holiness.
Before 2005, I knew of all these things I should be doing--good spiritual disciplines that every Christian is told to do. But, I was attempting to do them on my own power and in my own ability. Doing them well, I thought, would cause God to be pleased with this "good and faithful servant." Not doing or not doing them well would cause God to be disappointed and angry with me. For salvation I was trusting in Christ, but for sanctification I was trusting in myself.
Reading The Discipline of Grace first taught me that as a believer I still need the Gospel everyday. This makes me smile. Good news. I like good news . . . Truth sets me free--day after day.
Second, this book has shown me that the Holy Spirit works in me to enable me to live a life that is pleasing to God. He doesn't do the work for me . . . instead, He enables me to to do the work. Depending on God does not make my effort unnecessary--it makes it effective.
I love the "thesis" of Bridge's book: "Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace."
I still long to live a disciplined life, to be more like Christ, to pursue holiness. Only now, I long for discipleship that is based on God's grace.
"We cannot perform our duty without the grace of God; nor does God give
his grace for any other purpose than that we may perform our duty"
This post was submitted to the Carnival of Beauty sponsored by following an unknown path. This week the theme is The Beauty of Discipline and is being hosted by Scribblings by Blair. Join us next week for The Beauty of Hope over at Sara's Stones of Remembrance.
Awhile back, Blair's post on letting God do the talking reminded me of one of my favorite songs growing up.
It was a 1980's song, probably by the Maranatha! Singers (but not sure) called "Come Away."
The chorus was the most powerful part to me:
Can you hear the Spirit calling "come away?
Come and spend some time with Me, come away.
Let your heart and mind be stilled,
Let your empty cup be filled.
Come and spend some time with Me, come away."
This simple song gave "having a quite time" new meaning. It transformed it from a spiritual disciple filled with things I should do and check off simply because they are spiritual disciplines into a time of relationship building with the Most High God.
Can you hear the Spirit calling . . . . "come away?"
I shocked myself this week when I drank American Kool Aid for the first time in perhaps 2 years. I found some that I'd kept in my freezer and decided to whip up a batch. When I first got to Taiwan, I drank Kool Aid all the time as a comfort drink. Tiny packages make for easy transport over the ocean, and the dividends are huge.
It called for 1 cup of sugar--I added less than a 1/4 cup of Splenda. I already knew to add less "sugar" for my new Asianesque tastebuds. However, I was not prepared for the explosion of overpowering sweet cherry that was about to pour over my taste buds.
Wow! That's some strong stuff! I seriously was overwhelmed by black cherry Kool Aid. I watered it down--1 part kool aid and 3 parts water--and enjoyed it much, much better.
Who'd a thunk it?
Let me take you back to the last week of July . . . (Needless to say, I have some catching up to do on my blog.)
After being here for an action packed week and after a very emotion-filled Day 7, the girls and I decided to take a little break. On day 8, a Wednesday, we slept late, caught up on email and blogging, and just hung around the house. It was a welcomed rest.
Mid-afternoon, after downing some wonderful fresh fruit slushes, we headed into Kaohsiung to go to an afternoon market that is popular with the teens and young adults of Kaohsiung. It is situated in between some of the major department stores downtown.
Two of my students joined us and after some browsing and shopping, we deiced to go take some sticker pictures. This is a popular thing for young people to do when hanging out with friends. There are these stores filled with picture-taking machines that turn the photos into stickers.
After you've posed 8 or 9 times, you get to choose which poses you like best and then decorate them.
Here are two of the pictures we took--keep in mind these things are very tiny stickers. Aren't they fun?!
After the pictures, we had some scrumptious roasted chicken sandwiches.
Then, moments later, Tiffany and Becka had their first of many "dong gua cha." Yes, it was on day 8 that my cousins fell in love with winter melon tea.
With teas in hand we ended the day by going to an English Bible study and sharing with new friends how Jesus had changed our lives. What a perfect ending to a relaxing day!
Women of the Harvest is a neat online resource for women serving cross-culturally. I can't wait to have more time to pursue this very rich treasure trove of info for people just like me.
They also have a quarterly online newsletter for POMs (parents of missionaries) called Harvest Legacy. Skimming some of their back issues brought tears to my eyes. I had a choice in whether or not I was going to make sacrifices to come serve overseas. My mom and dad didn't get to choose whether or not they did--I made the choice for them.
[HT: Rays of Sunshine]
Well, as you know, I've moved. So, I thought I'd show you my new place this week--before, during, and now. "After" will have to wait because it is still a work in progress. :)
Here is my new apartment before I moved in. I took these pictures during my second time in the apartment. The titles and captions below are really small, to see them better or to see larger versions of the pictures you can go here.
Found two great articles this weekend for singles:
Believing in the Dream of Marriage by Kara Schwab
Why is it some people's path to the altar is just a few footsteps long? Mine felt like a marathon.
Single While Active by Suzanne Hadley
I am single. I'm not ashamed to say it. Most of the time I'm OK with it.
By "OK" I mean I don't break down in tears after attending my
fifth wedding in one summer. I don't mourn with a tub of mint
chocolate chip and "Sleepless in Seattle" every time I have a quiet
Saturday night ... or four. . . . keep reading.
I've written about my Chinese name before, but I found this painting of my name as I was packing up my old apartment.
Ten years ago a student gave me this name because she said it described me; she said I smiled and laughed a lot and that she knew I loved Jesus.
Many Americans get Chinese names that sound like their English name, but mine obviously does not. It sounds Chinese not western, and I like that.
Also, when people hear my Chinese name, they immediately know I am a Christian, and I like that too.
Can you see how the artist changed parts of each character in my name into an animal? The family name, the top character, has a bird in it. The first character of the given name, the middle character, has butterflies on the top and an ancient Chinese coin in the middle. The last character has a dragon and then little hearts make up part of the radical for "heart" in the word grace.
I've had this painting since 1998. It is matted, but I've never framed it. Maybe part of the reason is that it is too colorful for my personal decorating tastes. However, I do like it . . . maybe I will change the mat from red to black and actually frame and hang it in my new home.
. . . I dreamed of being a missionary to Africa and living in a hut.
In the morning, I would work along side my neighbors doing the same manual labor they did and be a teacher too; in the afternoon, I would be a doctor; in the evenings, I would tell Bible stories beside the fire; and at night, when everyone else was sleeping I would spend time with Jesus, write books, and compose songs because I was also going to be a singer just like Sandi Patti. Oh, and don't forget at the same time I was going to be a mother to about 12 children--most of them adopted. [If you'd like to know more about my plans that I had detailed out, ask my mom she loves to tease me about them.]
It is amazing how God gives us the desires of our hearts! Praise Him!!
Oh, I know I don't live that EXACT life, yet I am living out my childhood dreams in a way only He could fashion. He has allowed me to live in a foreign land and share the Good News with others!! What a blessing!
It's interesting how in my humanity little inklings of desires still remain, and I still long for what others have. I read about others living in "foreign lands" and think "oh, I wanna be a missionary!!"
I often don't feel like "a real missionary." I am just an average girl doing what she has desired to do for most of her life.
I don't feel like I'm making sacrifices. I have running water and electricity, I don't live in a hut, I don't have a dirt floor, and I don't have to eat bugs. I don't feel like I live in an exotic place. And, I forget I can speak a foreign language--most people I know speak at least three, if not more, languages.
Really, I don't think I am all that adventuresome either--I mean come on, I read about people who have to climb rope ladders to get into their homes and cross narrow suspension bridges to get to work--those are the real adventurers among us.
When I stop to look at where I am in life--I stand amazed at what God has done. I marvel at His goodness and His grace. I have done nothing whatsoever to deserve what He has done and is doing in and through me.
I am so blessed to be living here in Taiwan!! I am in awe at how He, the Master Potter, has fashioned me, a simple jar of clay, for being here right at this time and in this place. Oh praise His holy name!!!
I've always wondered about that verse in Proverbs 37: "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." I've always wondered if it means that when you delighted in Him He gave you the desire (that the desires were from Him) OR if it meant that He would grant the desires of my heart. Maybe it means both.